When I began to put pen to paper, it was simply a means for me to connect my thoughts. Connecting my thoughts seemed to come easier on paper. I am certain this is true for all writers. Even to this day if I have something to say, articulating it verbally, or thinking aloud, as some do, doesn’t do justice to my thought process. That doesn’t mean I don’t like to talk, I certainly do, too much at times.
However, having recently realized that writing is meant to be shared with others has stretched me out of my comfort zone. It terrified me to think that others would be reading and forming opinions on what I had written. It has become and act of humility and obedience to share my writing.
It takes humility to share your innermost thoughts, strongly held convictions and your sense of creativity with others. Some may enjoy your point of view, your wacky sense of humour or your strange sense of adventure. Yet, others may simply not be interested in what you have to write. Those with strong opinions on what you write can be the most intimidating or provide the most to learn from.
My first step in sharing my writing was creating a blog. There was no theme or mission to this blog, simply a means for me to share some of my musings with whoever would read it. At first it felt as if no one was reading it. Slowly, friends and family began to comment on my posts and I started to work up the courage to actually talk about it and direct others to my blog.
A few times there have been people who have had some strong opinions on what I have shared. Especially since I have written posts on some controversial issues such as abortion, chastity and contraception. It is inevitable that some people will not like what you write, and will be very forward in sharing their opinion with you. That shouldn’t stop us from writing. Writers have to develop a bit of a tough skin while also approaching criticism with a grain of humility. It’s an opportunity to get a pulse of our readers and to keep us humble as we accept that not everyone will enjoy our writing.
Writing is a gift, a talent and a craft. It’s a gift from God. Writing has the power to affect change, not just from today’s readers but from those who will read your writing for generations to come.
If we look back we see works of writers from generations past that are still popular to this day. Writers such as Jane Austen, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, G.K Chesterton, and many more, are still influencing and touching the hearts of readers to this day.
Yet even they had to contend with their share of criticism. I know J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” series was criticized by many Christians for its use of wizardry and magic.
Personally, I think as Christian writers we have a greater responsibility. Writing is not just a means to share my opinions and feelings. Writing becomes a means for us to bring others closer to Christ. Even if our audience is not Christian, if we write well enough, even a non-Christian will be brought closer to truth, and to the natural law written on their hearts.
We see this through works of literature that have since come alive on the movie screen or a play. Recently, I watched two movies in the theatre that had me sitting in awe. It is amazing that these two movies “Les Miserables” and “The Hobbit” have made it through main stream entertainment. These stories are rich with Christian elements and they have captured the hearts of audiences for generations. It makes one wonder if the non-Christian viewers and readers actually see the elements and welcome them or if they are oblivious to it and just see the human characteristics and virtues that are relatable and entertaining.
With this responsibility to move hearts closer to the truth, comes the assurance that we are never alone in our plight to create masterpieces in literature. As writers, when we feel discouraged or lack ideas for a particular writing project, we are blessed to have sacred scripture to turn too.
At times as writers we have an idea, but we may over analyze and fool ourselves into thinking that we don’t have anything original to offer. That someone else is more talented to write this piece. In scripture we find Luke: 1:1-4:
“In as much as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.” (NASB)
Sounds to me like St. Luke could have just as easily left the gospel writing to others. He is responding to a call in humility and obedience.
An author once shared this with me, “Right up to the last second, as I prepare to send my book off to the publisher, I am revising, adding, changing. I am not sure anything I have written has ever been considered complete in my mind.” We can be our own worst critic. Even non-Christian writers battle with an inner insecurity and discouragement. As Christians we have a source of inspiration, the Holy Spirit writes with us and through us. We need only to respond in humility and obedience. Accepting our responsibility to write we use the talent given to us, and God gets a great return on our investment.